63/377: Domusnovas



I travel from Cagliari back to Iglesias by train. The brakes are fixed (I hope!) and I can leave for Domusnovas. The road is short, I cycle a short stretch on the motorway 130, breaking my rule of never making roads with 4 lanes, but only for a few kilometers, until I see a beautiful internal road that runs parallel to it. I take it and follow it, passing country houses, fields and some farms, I arrive at Domusnovas.

I head to the Town Hall. I get to at a building that looks like a spaceship, I realize I have arrived … a building at least peculiar! The Mayor Massimiliano and some councilors welcome me, including the one to culture Matteo who will accompany me throughout the morning. With them also Gerardo from the Coro Polifonico, Angelo from the Speleo Club, and Rosy who will invite me to have lunch at her house. The council chamber of the Town Hall is very beautiful, at the top of the building, with side windows and views of the surrounding area, the spaceship’s plank!


After a long coffee break, the weather got worse, with clouds and British drizzle, we make a move to go and visit some places. We start from the Mulino Peddis, which premises are the headquarter of the speleological association. Outside, in addition to the ancient remains of the mill, a beautiful statue representing a face of enormous size, and myrtle plants whose berries are very sweet!
Inside, a beautiful display of minerals coming from the nearby mining areas. The president Angelo explains the great work of census of the karst cavities done in all these 50 years of association!


And finally the visit to the cave of San Giovanni, where once you could drive by car, one of the three caves in the world with a paved road, and that for a while have been closed to traffic. We cross it, passing by the bed of the river now dry, and admiring concretions, calcite crystals and some stalactites. Some walls are still black with pollution, but it’s incredible how the water is already leaving white concretions, which are naturally repainting everything!


In the afternoon we meet the Councilor for the Environment Ilaria and we visit the beautiful nuraghe Sa Domu e ‘s’Orcu. Paolo, Fiorenzo and Emanuela from the Consorzio Natura Viva Sardegna will lead us. The peculiarity of this nuraghe is that the stones that constitute it are quartzite, hard to carve, and coming from the mountains behind. Here too there is still a lot to dig and discover!

In the evening I spend dinner to Ilaria’s, with Alessandro and little Chiara, who greets me with a beautiful drawing made especially for me and my project! 🙂


The next morning I visit the old paper mill, next to where I stayed and not far from the mouth of the San Giovanni cave. The buildings are managed by the Consorzio Natura Viva Sardegna and Fiorenzo illustrates all the interventions they have already done and those that are still to be done to make this beautiful space accessible to the public.


And before leaving, a last minute visit to the beautiful exhibition of minerals in the premises of Monte Granatico, led by Nino Mascia, one of the main donors and founders of the exhibition. Not only minerals but also collections of objects of mine and fossils … my geological knowledge comes back!





They say that after seven steps we all know the world. In Sardinia instead we are all connected after one or two steps (sometimes even genealogically!) Today, I met Angelo Naseddu, president of the Domusnovas Speleo Club. As soon as he hears my surname, he asks me if I’m a relative of the politician of the same name. Of course it’s my grandfather! He tells me how much esteem for him, despite the difference in the political party, politics of other times, things that today seem to be science fiction.

Then he tells me that as a young man he was going to see the uphill running races and that he remembers well of Pier Luigi Dessanay, who ran with an Alfa Romeo GTA 1300. He is my father! In the afternoon he returns with a book about the Iglesias Sant’Angelo race, and shows me the photos, the pilots, the results, that he knows by heart … then he asks me ‘do me a favor, ask your father if he has some pictures of the races when they passed inside the cave of San Giovanni!’ Unfortunately I can not satisfy him, but he is happy when I send him a picture of my father who, with an old Fiat 500, climbed the uphills from Guspini to Arbus, just the one I avoided on my bicycle, passing from Gonnosfanadiga instead!

Ilaria and Alessandro are beekeepers. In a very special way. They tell me about the experimental project they have, in collaboration with a university. The study of bee venom and its application in the treatment of some cancers. I am struck by their commitment and the fact that once again these insects so feared by many are in fact a powerful ally of man, which in some countries, as in England where I live (or lived!) are almost endangered. When I go away after dinner, they give me a jar of honey. ‘I can not accept it, too heavy!’ … but then I think about my winter sore throats and I decide to sacrifice my legs uphill. Plus, they give me a bottle of propolis made by them. As they recommend, I will use it for preventive purposes, now that the temperature is starting to fall and freezing is expected! Brrrrrrrr.